Last week I went to a neurologist to discuss my migraines since they’ve been coming back. I told him that I believe my migraines are tied to my hormones and since I’m weaning my second child, that is likely a factor in my hormones fluctuating. He was a kind doctor with terrific bedside manners.
We talked about birth control to prevent my migraines and he asked me if I was going to have any more children. I told him likely no, that two is enough for me and hubby.
“Yes,” he said. “Having children after 40 is risky.” He did not say this sentence with an ounce of anything but compassion in his voice. And he is right. The science indicates that the chances of pre-term labor and babies with issues are higher the older you are. The science also says that having a baby past the age of 35 (naturally, with no fertility treatments) is virtually impossible.
However, in my experience, the entire previous paragraph is 100% untrue.
I got pregnant with my first son at the age of 40 and had a full-term vaginal birth just a month shy of my 41st birthday. I got pregnant with my second son just six months later (after trying only for one month!) and gave birth to him in an unmedicated full-term vaginal birth. Both of my boys are healthy precious little things who have been growing and developing in leaps and bounds.
But if I was to believe the science, my story would have never ever happened.
The truth is it is indeed possible to get pregnant at the age of 40 (and even older). Here are four key practices I did to get my body baby ready:
- Pass me the mocktail. Alcohol has never been for me. I drank a handful of times in my 20’s and 30’s but stopped because it was never something that did anything for me. While the studies are scarce, there is a suspected impact consuming alcohol has on conception.
- Supplements. I believe there are two kinds of people: those who take vitamins and those who do not. I fall into the former camp. I have always taken vitamins and the type of vitamins I’ve taken for years have had a positive affect on my fertility, Vitamin D being a key supplement to take.
- Just sweat. In middle school I ran a 14-minute mile. I say this because I am not naturally athletic at the least, however, exercise quickly became a cornerstone behavior in my life many years ago. I also was lucky enough to find an amazing gym led by all-female coaches in my mid-30’s. For five years I went to that gym five days a week and the coaches supported me through both pregnancies. Exercise for me was never about being thin or being a certain jean size. I loved the feeling of being strong and fit, and it enabled me to have super strong babies to boot!
- No more Debbie Downers. I’m someone who is super affected by negative energy so I make sure to surround myself with positive people. I’m diligent about this. I do not have people in my life who crap on my dreams or ideas. Of course, I have had people like that in my life, but no more. If you want to have a baby and you’re 40, you best make sure everyone around you is feeding you love, positivity, and light. You don’t need to hear about the gloom and doom, or any of that other nonsense.
So, to answer the question: yes, it is indeed possible to get pregnant at 40. I did it! And I’m sure there are other mamas out there like me who have done it too!